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krazeeboi

"We don't want to become another Atlanta"

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It seems as though the mantra of smaller Southern cities everywhere in the South, especially those experiencing decent growth, is "We don't want to become another Atlanta." Specifically, as it applies to our major metros, my question is what are we doing to ensure that this does not happen? Are we seriously and aggressively pursuing mass transit options? Are we encouraging sustainable infill developments? Are we really trying to limit sprawl (or do we revel in our growth figures)? Are we changing our zoning requirements in order to make it more feasible to build more densely? I would like to see some hard-and-fast examples of how our metros, in their early growth stages as mid-sized metros, are ensuring that we are not just growing, but growing smarter. How are we really learning from Atlanta and other areas that suffer from significant sprawl?

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I hate to say it, but Greenville needs to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to this. It seems like more and more is being built up on Woodruff Road and it's not all good, that's for sure. It's just causing more and more sprawl. We really need to start looking at mass transit options like LRT and more bus lines going out to Woodruff Road, around all of Greenville, and the state. I'm really worried cities like Greenville are going to turn into Atlanta soon unless we do something about it.

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One thing that doesn't bode well for Columbia, Charleston, or Greenville here is the problems that each city is having with their bus systems--primarily as it regards funding sources. That's not good, with all of these metros getting significant growth.

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I think generally this subject isn't on the radar screen on the governments of any of the big 3 metros in SC, and certainly it isn't on the agende in the SC Legislature. The Legislature feels that any growth, no matter how bad is good. If they continue to have their way all of SC will be covered in Walmarts, McDonalds, and freeway exits.

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Eventually we'll have to face the fact that the Southeast will become similar to the current Northeast.

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No one does not want to become the next Atlanta because of their inefficient roads network and more single family homes. This is taking place in many areas.

We should encourage our leaders for more light rail mass transit to connect major areas and build more residential highrises in suburban areas.

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Generally, whenever I've heard the "become another Atlanta" statement, its actually been in defense of lower density, Atlanta-style development. It seems to pop up the most when denser development and high-rises are proposed (at least in the Augusta area)...

Obviously those making the statement are completely wrong in their usage, and its that kind of ignorance that is leading all of our cities down the path of Atlanta. The average person finds it incomprehensible that low density sprawl is the key contributor to traffic and pollution woes, and instead try to direct the blame to higher-density areas.

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Recent downtown residential projects may help curb some sprawl, but as long as Mungo and other developers continue to build thousands of cheap homes further and further from the city, I don't see much difference in our metros and ATL. Add to the fact that southerners love their vehicles.

More commercial and residential development along with a reliable mass transit system of buses and rail is necessary to vear the course. Gas prices of $10/gal would also help :lol:

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Gas prices of $10/gal would also help :lol:

Even for the people who do not drive at all would feel the pinch of inflation; first paying the increased fare at the bus or train then paying higher prices at the grocery store. $10 a gallon gas would simply crash our economy if petroleum was the only way to get around for the majority of Americans!

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Even for the people who do not drive at all would feel the pinch of inflation; first paying the increased fare at the bus or train then paying higher prices at the grocery store. $10 a gallon gas would simply crash our economy if petroleum was the only way to get around for the majority of Americans!

That last sentence wasn't meant to be serious, I know that $10/gallon at the pumps would effect everyone and be a blow to the economy. Although, our cities would never be an Atlanta if that happened ;)

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Eventually we'll have to face the fact that the Southeast will become similar to the current Northeast.

The key difference is that the cores of the Northeastern cities were already well developed before the arrival of the automobile. Sure they have sprawl (and plenty of it), but the infill was already in place. At the rate our Southern metros are going, the only difference between the core of a city and suburban sprawl will be a collection of tall buildings.

Generally, whenever I've heard the "become another Atlanta" statement, its actually been in defense of lower density, Atlanta-style development. It seems to pop up the most when denser development and high-rises are proposed (at least in the Augusta area)...

Obviously those making the statement are completely wrong in their usage, and its that kind of ignorance that is leading all of our cities down the path of Atlanta. The average person finds it incomprehensible that low density sprawl is the key contributor to traffic and pollution woes, and instead try to direct the blame to higher-density areas.

I never realized that a lot of people use the phrase in the wrong way--how ironic, yet funny in a sad way.

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I think generally this subject isn't on the radar screen on the governments of any of the big 3 metros in SC, and certainly it isn't on the agende in the SC Legislature. The Legislature feels that any growth, no matter how bad is good. If they continue to have their way all of SC will be covered in Walmarts, McDonalds, and freeway exits.

I think its on the radar of the local governments, but the problem there is regional cooperation. The Legislature couldn't even buy a clue, since they're letting McConnell funnel all of the taxpayers' money to his pet project under the table. We have one of the most anti-city Legislatures in the nation. I just don't understand why we continue to elect these backwards-looking morons instead of people with true vision and foresight.

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I think generally this subject isn't on the radar screen on the governments of any of the big 3 metros in SC, and certainly it isn't on the agende in the SC Legislature. The Legislature feels that any growth, no matter how bad is good. If they continue to have their way all of SC will be covered in Walmarts, McDonalds, and freeway exits.

It's on Columbia City Council's radar screen. I heard them talk about it at length on cable channel 2. Anne Sinclair especially talked about doing what has to be done to make it a model bus system. All the governments in the region have to work together, though, to make it happen. In the short term it looks like due to financial problems there will be cuts. Maybe something come through to keep that from happening.

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Sometimes I wonder if everybody is really against "becoming another Atlanta" like they say they are. So many cities in the south compare themselves to Atlanta, and work incessantly on trying to compete with it; Charlotte is an example. I understand that they mean they want the positives and exposure atlanta has, but not the sprawl, traffic, pollution, ect. But you ALWAYS have to take the good WITH the bad in anything. Another example is how Spartanburg leaders have recently remarked that they do not want to become Greenville, yet so many of their actions and plans model those of Greenville with an aim to at least comete with it. Thus, essentially making it become another Greenville.

We at urban planet spend vasts amount of time debating on which of our big 3 or 4 has the most traffic, highrises, condos, hotels, population, etc, etc, etc. I have a hard time believing at least some of this isn't because we all want ours to be the "biggest or best." All these attributes are ones that we debate about and somehow give each of us a sense that our city is preferable. Aren't these the same attributes that Atlanta has, mostly to a greater degree than our cities? If these attributes are not ones we want, why do we spend so much time debating them and trying to make other's see that we are right?

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Sometimes I wonder if everybody is really against "becoming another Atlanta" like they say they are. So many cities in the south compare themselves to Atlanta, and work incessantly on trying to compete with it; Charlotte is an example. I understand that they mean they want the positives and exposure atlanta has, but not the sprawl, traffic, pollution, ect. But you ALWAYS have to take the good WITH the bad in anything. Another example is how Spartanburg leaders have recently remarked that they do not want to become Greenville, yet so many of their actions and plans model those of Greenville with an aim to at least comete with it. Thus, essentially making it become another Greenville.

We at urban planet spend vasts amount of time debating on which of our big 3 or 4 has the most traffic, highrises, condos, hotels, population, etc, etc, etc. I have a hard time believing at least some of this isn't because we all want ours to be the "biggest or best." All these attributes are ones that we debate about and somehow give each of us a sense that our city is preferable. Aren't these the same attributes that Atlanta has, mostly to a greater degree than our cities? If these attributes are not ones we want, why do we spend so much time debating them and trying to make other's see that we are right?

Interesting comments. I agree with you about everyone always enthusiastically talking about the growth around our major metros. Sprawl is always the ultimate evil when it happens in another city, but most often selectively overlooked when it happens at home. Let's face it, we all want our cities to grow, and the suburbs are vital to that growth, regardless of our personal feelings about suburban sprawl. :thumbsup:

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Sometimes I wonder if everybody is really against "becoming another Atlanta" like they say they are.

EXACTLY. I honestly do get tired of cities proclaiming "We don't want to become another Atlanta," yet they are doing just about everything Atlanta has done within the past few decades while seemingly not learning from Atlanta's mistakes. Just be honest and say that you want to be exactly like these metrosprawlitan areas because you want the economic growth and stability and the fame and notoriety that comes along with numbers--in other words, you'd choose quantity over quality any day of the week.

I don't think we should equate suburban growth with sprawl, as the two aren't identical. We had good, manageable suburban growth in this country prior to the WWII era. Now, our countrysides are free-for-alls for developers and interstates are lined with secondary business districts. South Carolina's cities are at a critical stage right now, and I feel that if serious action isn't taken now towards sustainability and carefully managing growth, we won't seriously consider it until we're a day late and a dollar short--and at that point, what good would it do anyone?

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I understand why people say "we better be careful or our city will become another Atlanta," but the funny thing is that metro Atlanta has a larger population than the entire state of SC. While planning now is certainly key, none of our metros are in danger of becoming another Atlanta for many, many years - not even the Greenvile-Spartanburg-Anderson metro, which currently sits at about 1.1 million population.

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I think the sentiment that "We don't want to become another Atlanta" not only deals with the amount of growth, but also the quality of that growth. Also, I think one of our biggest concerns in the South as a whole is the formation of what has been touted on this forum as a "Southeastern megalopolis" (which some even seem to champion). I don't see what's to celebrate about a continuous swath of development along I-85, stretching from the NC Triangle, through the Upstate, on to Atlanta. The connection of metros by low density sprawl isn't anything to celebrate, it's something to abhor. While we cannot be responsible for what happens in other states and other cities, our local leaders should be actively taking steps to ensure that we do our best to grow and do so as responsibly as possible. If a city as small as Orangeburg sees the value in sustainable growth, surely that should be the case for our Big Three and emerging major metros.

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Regional land use policy - that is what is required to not develop like Atlanta. Otherwise most of the other recommendations - though positive, aren't that different from what Atlanta has or is doing. Infill & increased density within the city or regional center isn't new to Atlanta. Transit - though the metro area has fallen behind in the past 10 years, nonetheless transit systems alone won't impact land use practices - only reduces congestion.

But I agree with topher's comments, in most cases people's repulsion of Atlanta isn't the single family component, but the vastness of the developed space. People universally want a single family home with land & the ability to drive. If everyone is clamouring to not become Atlanta, I've yet to hear those people exclaim they want to be New York City, San Francisco or even Portland (if people realized what the cost of living was there). Rather, people use the excuse to dispute increased dense construction next door to their idealic suburban subdivision.

If a concern does exist to not become Atlanta- politicians down to the individual isn't doing anything about it. It requires relinquishing landowner rights, move into a condo or a smaller home, taking the bus rather than driving, few value-based retail establishments, little parking avaiability, increasing taxes, & more importantly county & city governments actually saying "NO" to developers even with the promise of increased tax revenue. I know I, along with other forummers consider that mostly ideal (my excuse is I hate driving & I don't like to mantain a yard), but most native southerners & especially northern transplants don't consider those ideal terms to "not become Atlanta".

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Otherwise most of the other recommendations - though positive, aren't that different from what Atlanta has or is doing. Infill & increased density within the city or regional center isn't new to Atlanta.

But how proportionate has that infill and increased density been to suburban growth? Historically it has obviously been rather small.

Regarding transit, it's too bad that mass transit in Atlanta has been polarized along racial lines (I will refrain from citing the secondary meaning of MARTA here). That's another issue that needs to be dealt with when it comes to public transportation.

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I understand why people say "we better be careful or our city will become another Atlanta," but the funny thing is that metro Atlanta has a larger population than the entire state of SC. While planning now is certainly key, none of our metros are in danger of becoming another Atlanta for many, many years - not even the Greenvile-Spartanburg-Anderson metro, which currently sits at about 1.1 million population.

I thought the census bureau listed those as 3 separate metro areas?

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Regional land use policy - that is what is required to not develop like Atlanta. Otherwise most of the other recommendations - though positive, aren't that different from what Atlanta has or is doing. Infill & increased density within the city or regional center isn't new to Atlanta. Transit - though the metro area has fallen behind in the past 10 years, nonetheless transit systems alone won't impact land use practices - only reduces congestion.

But I agree with topher's comments, in most cases people's repulsion of Atlanta isn't the single family component, but the vastness of the developed space. People universally want a single family home with land & the ability to drive. If everyone is clamouring to not become Atlanta, I've yet to hear those people exclaim they want to be New York City, San Francisco or even Portland (if people realized what the cost of living was there). Rather, people use the excuse to dispute increased dense construction next door to their idealic suburban subdivision.

If a concern does exist to not become Atlanta- politicians down to the individual isn't doing anything about it. It requires relinquishing landowner rights, move into a condo or a smaller home, taking the bus rather than driving, few value-based retail establishments, little parking avaiability, increasing taxes, & more importantly county & city governments actually saying "NO" to developers even with the promise of increased tax revenue. I know I, along with other forummers consider that mostly ideal (my excuse is I hate driving & I don't like to mantain a yard), but most native southerners & especially northern transplants don't consider those ideal terms to "not become Atlanta".

^ you just saved me alot of typing. That is exactly it. The typical southern repsonse to unwanted growth is to demand larger lot sizes or charge impact fees. These lead inevitably to more sprawl and less dense development. What most people in the south are saying is " now that I'm here, lets close the gate and not allow anymore development".

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I thought the census bureau listed those as 3 separate metro areas?

Statistically, yes, but in actuality, they are all very much economically and regionally tied closely together as a large metropolitan area. To ignore this fact would be a tragedy for the state's economy. I find it interesting that Greenville's two neighboring counties with the most growth besides itself, are not included in the MSA. In Columbia/midlands, there are a few more counties, including the major ones in the region.

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You do have a point Infinite1. I was just looking at a Rock Hill city council meeting where a proposed development was being debated. One resident of the area who was adamantly opposed to it did so on one basis alone: traffic. And of course, denser developments do tend to bring more traffic, but I'm not sure if she caught the fact that traffic wouldn't be so bad if there wasn't just ONE collector road which feeds onto the main highway (which she also mentioned). Collector roads and cul-de-sacs are just yucky. The standard grid pattern would do wonders for such areas.

Skyliner, what you bring up is the same complaint of residents of other areas that got broken up by the Census Bureau, including the Triad and Triangle in NC. But the standard the Bureau uses is tied to commuting patterns, and apparently Spartanburg and Anderson get enough commuters into their own counties to qualify as their own MSAs. Who knows, it may go back to the way it was in a few years if the definition gets revised once again.

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I know why they break them up, but I had to state the fact in light of the response. Everyone should realize the true power of this region revolving around Greenville. ;)

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